New Provincial Housing Regulations (Bill 44)

New Provincial Housing Legislation and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD)

Bill 44

What is Bill 44 (Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Act)? 

The Province’s Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act, 2023 aims to facilitate an increase in housing supply in communities throughout BC. Please see more information here:

How Will Bill 44 Impact my Property?

Bill 44 requires that every zone within the electoral areas of the CVRD that permit one single detached dwelling as the principal use to also permit one attached suite with no minimum site area requirement, no owner occupancy requirement, and no special regulations concerning the access to the suite. 

Most zones that are subject to Bill 44 already permit suites, but amendments to the related regulations were required to comply with the new legislation. The zoning changes imposed by Bill 44 do not require owners to build suites; it simply enables owners to build a suite if they wish to. 

Bill 44 Zoning Amendment Bylaws Adopted May 22, 2024

The zoning amendment bylaws for all electoral areas, except for Electoral Areas A, C and D (marine), were adopted by the CVRD Board at the May 22, 2024 meeting.

The amendment bylaw for Electoral Areas A and C (Bylaw No. 4571) is anticipated to be considered for adoption in June.

The amendment for the Cowichan Bay Marine Zoning Bylaw No. 1015 is required to be approved by the Cowichan Estuary Environmental Management Committee (CEEMC). The CVRD has submitted an extension request until December 31, 2024 to the Minister of Housing to allow time for the CEEMP to meet and consider the bylaw amendments. The extension should allow ample time for the CEEMC to review the bylaw, and subject to the Committee’s authorization, for the CVRD Board to consider adoption of the Bylaw. 

Further Information

See brief summary table below. Please contact Development Services for information on the permitted uses on your property at ds@cvrd.bc.ca

Table below:
* 1 attached or detached suite permitted
** Not yet adopted

Electoral Area Zones Permitting
Attached Suites

Zones Permitting
Detached Suites

Max. Floor Area –
Attached Suite (m2)

Max. Floor Area –
Detached Suite (m2)

A & C
Bylaw No. 3520

Bylaw No. 4546
A-1
A-2
A-6
RUR-1
RUR-2
RUR-3
RR-1
RR-2
RR-3
RR-3A
RR-3D
R-2
R-3
R-3A
R-6
RM-1
CD-1

Bylaw No.4571**

A-2*
RUR-1*
RUR-2*
RUR-3*
RR-1*
RR-2*
RR-3*
RR-3A*
RR-3D*
R-2*
R-3*
R-3A*
R-6*
RM-1*

85m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less
85m2
B
Bylaw No. 985

Bylaw No. 4547
A-1
A-1A
A-2
A-2A
A-6
RR-2
F-1
F-1A
F-2
R-1
R-1A
RR-3A
R-2
R-2A
R-3
R-6
C-1 with permitted commercial use
C-2 with permitted commercial use
CD-1B
CD-1C
CD-1D
CD-6

Bylaw No. 4572
A-1A*
A-2*
A-2A*
RR-2*
F-1*
F-1A*
F-2*
R-1*
RR-3A*
R-2*
R-2A*
R-3*
R-6*
CD-1B*
CD-1C*
CD-1D*

85m2
85m2
D (Marine)
Bylaw No. 1015

Bylaw No. 4548**
A-1
RR-2

Bylaw No.4573**
RR-2*

90m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less (minimum 37m2) - 90m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less (minimum 37m2);
- Minimum parcel size and servicing requirements remain:
• No minimum for parcels serviced with water and sewer;
• 0.4ha min for parcels serviced with water only; 1ha min for parcels not serviced)

D (Uplands)
Bylaw No. 3705

Bylaw No. 4549
A1
A1T
A4
A7
RR1
RR2
CR1
R2
R2A
R3
R3B
R3A
CR2

Bylaw No. 4574
A1*
RR1*
RR2*
CR1*
R2*
CR1*
R2*
R3*
R3B*
CR2*

90m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less (minimum 37m2) - 90m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less (minimum 37m2);
- Minimum parcel size and servicing requirements remain:
• No minimum for parcels serviced with water and sewer;
• 0.4ha min for parcels serviced with water only;
• 1ha min for parcels not serviced

E
Bylaw No. 1840

Bylaw No. 4550
F-1
F-2
A-1
A-1C
A-2
A-5
A-7
R-1
R-2
R-3
RC-1
R-5
RF-50/50

Bylaw No. 4575
F-1*
F-2*
A-1 on parcels 2ha or larger
A-1C on parcels 2ha or larger
A-2*
A-5 on parcels 2ha or larger
A-6
A-7 on parcels 2ha or larger
R-1*
R-2*
R-3*
RC-1*
R-5*

90m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less
90m2 
F
Bylaw No. 2600

Bylaw No. 4551
F-1
F-2
LR-1
RC-3
R-1
R-2
R-3
C-6

Bylaw No. 4576
F-1*
F-2*
F-2A
LR-1* (not closer than 60m from natural boundary of lake)
RC-3*
RC-4
R-1*
R-2*
R-3*
C-6*

95m2
95m2
G
Bylaw No. 2524

Bylaw No. 4552
A-1
F-1
R-2
R-2A
R-3
R-4
C-2 (in conjunction with permitted commercial use) 
C-3 (in conjunction with permitted commercial use) 
Bylaw No. 4577
R-2A (on parcels 0.4ha or greater)


74m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less
85m2
H
Bylaw No. 1020

Bylaw No. 4553
A-1
A-2
F-1
F-2
R-1
R-2
R-10
MH-2
C-2
C-2A
C-2B
C-3
C-4
P-2
P-2A
I-1
I-2

Bylaw No. 4578
A-1* on parcels 2ha or larger
A-2* on parcels 2ha or larger
F-1* on parcels 2ha or larger
F-2* on parcels 2ha or larger
R-1*
R-2*
C-2*
C-2A*
C-2B*
C-3*
C-4*
P-2*
P-2A*
I-1*
I-2*

90m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less - Minimum parcel size 0.2ha in order to permit detached suite;
- 60m2 for parcels 0.2-0.79ha;
- 74m2 for parcels 0.8m2 and greater

I
Bylaw No. 2465

Bylaw No. 4554
LR-1
LR-2
LR-3
LR-5
LR-6
LR-7
LR-8
LR-9
LR-10
LR-11
R-2
R-2A
R-3
R-5
R-6
R-7
R-8
R-9
R-10

Bylaw No. 4579
LR-1* (not closer than 60m from natural boundary of lake)
LR-3*
LR-8*
R-2*
R-2A*
R-3*
R-6*

74m2 or 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less - 74m2
- Minimum parcel size 0.4ha in order to permit detached suite

Definition Added/Amended:

“Accessory” means a use, building or structure which is incidental to, subordinate to, and exclusively devoted to a principal use, building or structure that is located on the same parcel or on common property within the same strata plan as the principal use, building or structure.

“Building” means any structure, wholly or partially enclosed by a roof or roofs, supported by walls, columns or posts and used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy. 

“Congregate Housing” means a residential or institutional facility which provides sleeping units or dwelling units, one or more meals per day, housekeeping services, and contains a common dining area sufficient to accommodate all residents of the residential facility. 

Includes: accessory personal service; accessory convenience store. 

 “Dwelling” and “Dwelling Unit” means one or more attached habitable rooms in a building used and occupied or intended to be used and occupied as the permanent home or residence of one household, that together contain or provide for the installation of: 

a) not more than one kitchen; 

b) not more than one kitchenette; 

c) one or more washrooms; 

d) one or more sleeping areas; 

Excludes: Temporary accommodation or tourist accommodation unless expressly permitted in this Bylaw. 

“Dwelling, Duplex” and “Duplex” means a building containing two dwelling units that share a common wall or floor system, neither of which is an attached suite. 

“Dwelling, Multiple-Unit (or Multi-Unit Dwelling)” means a building or cluster of buildings consisting of three or more dwelling units. 

Includes: Congregate Housing;

Excludes: Tourist accommodation unless expressly permitted in this Bylaw.

“Dwelling, Single Detached (or Single Detached Dwelling)” means a building containing one dwelling unit or, where permitted by this bylaw, one dwelling unit and one attached suite.

“Kitchen” means any area in a building that is equipped with any of the following: 

a) Any equipment, device or appliance used to prepare, heat or cook food; 

b) Services for energy supply to any equipment, device or appliance used to heat or cook food; 

c) Appliances or plumbing associated with food preparation or cleaning of cooking equipment, dishes or utensils; 

d) Services for ventilation associated with any equipment, device or appliance used to heat or cook food; or 

e) Food storage and preparation areas such as pantries, cupboards, cabinets and counter tops. 

“Kitchenette” means any portion of a room used for the preparation of beverages and limited meals and may contain a raised counter and one each of the following: sink, refrigerator, microwave oven, and coffeemaker.

“Personal Service” means use of a building to provide services to an individual which are related to the care and appearance of the body or the cleaning and repair of personal effects, and includes accessory retail sale of personal care products.

Includes: Uses such as barber shop, dry cleaning establishment, fitness studio, hair salon, nail salon, photographer's studio, shoe repair shop, tailor, tattoo parlour. 

“Principal Use” means the primary purpose for which land, buildings or structures are ordinarily used, or designed to be used. 

“Structure” means anything that is fixed to, or supported by, or sunk into land or water. Includes: swimming pools; retaining walls; fences; signs; and any tank that projects above 0.6m above finished grade, underground commercial or industrial tanks. Excludes: areas of hard surfacing such as concrete, brick or unit pavers, turfstone, asphalt or similar materials; soft landscaping unless otherwise specified in this Bylaw; private residential septic tanks entirely below grade.  

 “Suite, Attached (or Attached Suite)” means a dwelling unit that is located within a building that also contains a principal dwelling unit, and that complies with Section 5.19* of this Bylaw. 

*NOTE: The Section referenced is bylaw-specific. Please check with the applicable zoning bylaw for the application section. 

"Suite, Detached (or Detached Suite)" means a dwelling unit that is itself, or located within, an accessory building on a parcel of land that contains at least one other dwelling unit, and that complies with Section 3.21A* of this Bylaw. 

*NOTE: The Section referenced is bylaw-specific. Please check with the applicable zoning bylaw for the application section. 


How Were the Zoning Bylaws Amended to Comply with Bill 44? 

The amendment bylaws are grouped into two categories:

  1. Those related to complying with Bill 44 – Bylaw Nos. 4546 through 4554; and
  2. Those intended to amend definitions and known issues with the zoning bylaws and, in some instances, to update the regulations around detached suites – Bylaw Nos. 4571 through 4579.

Bylaw Nos. 4546 (Area A & C), 4547 (Area B), 4548 (Area D – Marine), 4549 (Area D – Uplands), 4550 (Area E), 4551 (Area F), 4552 (Area G), 4553 (Area H) and 4554 (Area I) are intended to bring all of the CVRD zoning bylaws into compliance with Bill 44. Every zone that has one single detached dwelling as the principal permitted use was amended (where applicable) to also permit an attached suite with no restrictions regarding the minimum parcel area required, access to the suite, or with respect to who occupies the principal dwelling.

Most zones that are subject to Bill 44 already permit suites, but the related regulations are not in compliance with the new legislation, and updates to the zoning bylaws were required. Some zones where suites were formerly not permitted were amended to permit suites, in accordance with Bill 44.

Bylaw Nos. 4571 (Area A & C), 4572 (Area B), 4573 (Area D – Marine), 4574 (Area D – Uplands), 4575 (Area E), 4576 (Area F), 4577 (Area G), 4578 (Area H) and 4579 (Area I) were intended to update other aspects of nine of the CVRD’s zoning bylaws in order to ensure the definitions and related terminology are consistent throughout all of the zoning bylaws. Notably, free-standing residential suites are variously known as “small suite”, “accessory dwelling unit”, “secondary dwelling unit”, and “separate suite” and are renamed as “detached suite”; and in some cases, detached suite regulations updated.


Previous Staff Reports and Amendment Bylaws

Previous reports from the Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) and Board Meeting agendas can be found here:

  • Implementing the Requirements of the Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Act – Bill 44 report on the February 7, 2024 agenda, item R7

  • Implementing the Requirements of the Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Act – Bill 44 (Second Report) report on the March 20, 2024 agenda, item R2

  • CVRD Bylaw No. 4546 – South Cowichan Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Bill 44 Compliance), 2024 report on the April 24, 2024 agenda, item BEA2

  • CVRD Bylaw No. 4571 – South Cowichan Zoning Amendment Bylaw (Detached Suites & Miscellaneous Amendments), 2024 (Referred from the April 24, 2024, Board Meeting) report on the May 1, 2024 agenda, item UB1

  • Re: Bylaw No. 4571 – Electoral Areas A – Mill Bay/Malahat and C – Cobble Hill Detached Suites and Miscellaneous Amendments (Referred from the May 8, 2024, Board Meeting) on the May 15, 2024 agenda, item UB1.

  • Bill 44 Compliance and Miscellaneous Amendment bylaws on the May 22, 2024 Regular Board meeting agenda, items BEA1-BEA17